Monday, April 11, 2016

Run Jen Run’s Boston Marathon Preview 2016

30,000 runners will make the 26.2 mile journey from Hopkinton to Boylston Street next Monday morning for the 120th running of the Boston Marathon.  It’s a big year for the world’s oldest annual marathon and you won’t want to miss it!

In an Olympic year you won’t be seeing many Americans in this year’s elite field.  In fact there are only 4 total.  Ian Burrell and Girma Mecheso will compete in the men’s race while Neely Spence Gracey and Sarah Crouch will represent the American women.   

The big name Americans you know and love every year in Boston raced their hearts out at the Marathon Olympic Trials in February.  Making the US Olympic Team: Galen Rupp, Meb Keflezighi, Jared Ward, Amy Cragg, Desi Linden, and Shalane Flanagan.  Those who did not make it are most likely just getting back into training and looking ahead to the Trials on the track in Eugene July 1-10th.

Despite the lack of the American favorites and the recent announcement that 2011 champion and course record holder Geoffrey Mutai has dropped out of the race, the BAA has still managed to set up another incredible international field.  Both defending champs are returning along with the men’s runner up and second runner up from last year.

On a personal level, my boss Joe Carroll is running and raising money for Boston Children’s Hospital.  Last year his race didn’t go as planned and he faced major hamstring cramping around the infamous Heartbreak Hill.  He walk, jogged and side shuffled his way to the finish line and will be back this year for his 5th Boston.  My coworker Eric Wheeler will be running and then going in for abdominal surgery 3 days after the race.  He started running about 6 years ago right around the time we started working together and he’s turned into an unbelievable athlete.  He says he’s going to take it easy and enjoy the day but I know he’s still going to run an incredible race.  My friend Chris will be running his 2nd Boston representing the Air National Guard and a former Falmouth XC teammate Megan will be running her 1st Boston.  She's been kicking butt training in India and if I remember correctly hated running in high school haha.  Go friends!

Are you running on Marathon Monday?! I’d love to follow and track you!

Back to the race.  I said this the last 2 years and I’m saying it again…

There is nothing more motivating and powerful than watching a marathon.  From the elites to the back of the pack joggers, everyone has a story to tell about their journey and months of training.

Locally you can watch live coverage of the event on CBS’s Boston WBZ-TV from 7am-3pm.  CBSBoston.com will be live streaming race coverage and the finish line cam.  For national coverage, check out NBC Sports Network.  They will air a preview show on Sunday at 8pm on Universal HD interviewing some of the athletes and setting the scene for this year’s race.  Live coverage will begin on NBC Sports Network at 8:30am.

The wheelchair start is at 9:17am.  The women’s elite start is at 9:32am; the men start at 10:00am.

The Boston Marathon is one of the World Marathon Majors along with New York, Chicago, London, Tokyo, and Berlin.  To those that don’t follow the sport, next Monday’s race is a big deal.  Boston is similar to the Super Bowl of football.  Or the Kentucky Derby of horse racing.  Shalane Flanagan has said in multiple interviews that she would rather be crowned Boston Marathon champion over Olympic champion.

Prize Money

Did you know that the first ever prize money was handed out at the Boston Marathon in 1986?

First place men and women will earn $150,000 while runner up receives 7$5,000 and second runner up receives $40,000.  Even 15th place gets $1,500. 

Bonuses are awarded for fast times—$50,000 for a World’s Best (Men 2:02:57 by Dennis Kimetto in 2014 & Women 2:15:25 by Paula Radcliffe in 2003) and $25,000 for a Course Record (Men 2:03:02 by Geoffrey Mutai in 2011 & 2:18:57 by Rita Jeptoo in 2015). 

Side note: Those records were updated on the BAA website in March 2016, Rita Jeptoo is currently facing a 2 year doping ban.  Anyone know if her time stands for Course Record bonuses?

Let’s take a look at this year’s elite field and who to root for…

Top Elite Women

The Americans: Neely Spence Gracey and Sarah Crouch

Neely Spence Gracey – 1:09:59 half marathoner making her marathon debut

Sarah Crouch – 6th in Chicago in 2014 (2:32:44 PR Chicago 2014)

Caroline Rotich – Defending champion, 4th in 2011 (2:23:22 PR, Chicago 2012)

Tiki Gelena – 2012 Olympic Marathon gold medalist, fastest woman in the field, making her Boston debut (2:18:58 PR, Rotterdam 2012)

Buzunesh Deba – 3rd in 2015, runner up in 2014, 2x runner up in New York (2:19:59 PR, Boston 2014)

Amane Beriso – A late add to the field, she made the 5th fastest marathon debut of all time in Dubai this year (2:20:48 PR, Dubai 2016)

Tirfi Tsegaye – 2016 & 2013 Dubai Marathon champion, also won marathons in Berlin, Tokyo and Paris (2:20:18 PR, Berlin 2014)

Mamitu Daska – 2014 BAA Distance Medal champion and Ethiopian national record holder in the half marathon with a time of 1:06:28 (2:21:59 PR, Frankfurt 2011)

Atsede Bayisa – 2x winner in Chicago, 2x winner in Paris (2:22:03 PR, Chicago 2012)

Jelena Prokopcuka – 2x Boston runner up, 2x winner in New York (2:22:56 PR, Osaka 2005)

Top Elite Men

The Americans: Ian Burrell and Girma Mecheso

Ian Burrell – Top American at the 2015 World Championship Marathon (2:13:26 PR, Houston 2014)

Girma Mecheso – 2014 US 20k champion, 1:02:16 half marathoner making his marathon debut

Lelisa Desisa – Defending champion & 2x winner (2015 & 2013) and 2013 World Championship Marathon silver medalist (2:04:45 PR, Dubai 2013)

Wesley Korir – 2012 champion, the year of the heat! (2:06:13 PR, Chicago 2012)

Yemane Adhane Tsegay – 2015 runner up, 2015 World Championship Marathon silver medalist, 8 career marathon wins (2:04:48 PP, Rotterdam 2012)

Wilson Chebet – 2014 runner up, 3rd in 2015, 3x winner in Amsterdam (2:05:27 PR, Rotterdam 2011)

Michael Kipyego – Won a World Marathon Major race at the Tokyo Marathon in 2012 (2:06:48 PR, Eindhoven 2011)

Lemi Berhanu Hayle – 3 career marathon wins at only 21 years old (2:05:28 PR, Dubai 2015)

Sammy Kitwara – 2015 & 2014 runner up in Chicago, won the World’s Best 10k 5 times (2:04:28 PR, Chicago 2014)

Tsegaye Mekonnen – Ran his PR at his marathon debut as an 18 year old (2:04:32 PR, Dubai 2014)

Getu Feleke – (2:04:50 PR, Rotterdam 2012)


If you will be in Boston this weekend, check out these other exciting events:

John Hancock Sport & Fitness Expo and Boston Marathon Bib Number Pick-Up
Did you know that the marathon expo is open to the public?  You don’t have to be a registered runner to attend.  It will be held race weekend at the John B. Hynes Convention Center featuring many great sponsors, brands, and companies with a passion for running, health and fitness.  Many give away samples and free advice.

BAA Invitational Mile
Saturday April 16th is the BAA 5k and the BAA Invitational Mile.  While registration is full for the 5k, I totally recommend you checking out some great races.  The men’s mile is at 11:20am and the women go off at 11:30am.  Some of the best middle distance runners race every year two days before the marathon.  The invitational mile is a 3-lap course (great for spectating!) beginning on Boylston Street and finishing at the Marathon finish line.

UCAN Run Boston
4x Olympian and 2014 Boston Marathon champion Meb Keflezighi will be speaking with running coach Greg McMillan at the Westin Copley Place on Sunday April 17th from 12:30-1:15pm.  A meet & greet will follow from 1:15-2pm.  They will be speaking about how to run your best Boston.  I’ve had the opportunity to hear Meb talk many times and I highly recommend going if you have the chance.  

The event is free but you must register in advance here: https://www.generationucan.com/boston/.

Marathon Monday

“If you can’t be an athlete, be an athletic supporter.”

Race volunteers went through an exclusive application process early in the year and 8,000 were selected to cover all areas from the expo to the start line, water stations, and finish line.  If you would like to volunteer in 2017, set a reminder to check the BAA website right after the New Year.

Over 50,000 spectators are expected to line the course.  Because Boston is so crowded and a point-to-point race, you may only get to see your favorite runners once.  The year I got to experience Boston, Lizzie and I cheered from about the 40k mark then walked to the finish line to meet up with a friend.

Any of my followers have experience navigating the course to different spots along the course?  Where are your favorite places to watch?

Boston Red Sox vs. Toronto Blue Jays
While I’d rather be caught dead then cheering for the Red Sox, they do have a cool tradition of playing a home game on Patriots Day—aka Marathon Monday.  Game time is set for 11:05am.  Watch the game at Fenway Park then head into Kenmore Square to cheer on the runners.

Qualifying

Interested in running in 2017?  The race is scheduled for April 17th.  You can find all the Boston Marathon qualifying standards here.  The BAA also compiled a list of the top 25 marathons most frequently used to qualify.  Some of the more popular races include Chicago, New York, Philadelphia, California International, Grandma’s, Marine Corps, Twin Cities, Houston and Baystate.  You can view the full list here.

Did you know?

Most of the Boston Marathon course is actually run outside of Boston?  Runners reach Boston proper at about Mile 24.5 after running through Hopkinton, Ashland, Framingham, Natick, Wellesley, Newton and Brookline.

www.BAA.org

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